Instructor Intro: Caitlin (Kiki) Neal
Sues-day, travel tribe!
My name is Caitlin but I prefer you call me by my “Thai-name", Kiki. I’m excited to introduce myself as one of your program instructors for your upcoming Southeast Asia adventure. Our excursion is approaching quickly and before we know it, we will be exploring ancient, enchanting temples, bobbing through crowded and curiously smelling markets, snorkeling glorious tropical views, biking alongside rice paddy fields, and crawling through vast, mysterious dwellings within the earth. (I should warn you now, I’ll be singing and dancing with a massive smile on my face all along the way!) Since we will be a tight knit group for a solid 10 weeks, I’ll go ahead and break the ice a bit.
In a way, I grew up a nomad; moving every two to three years was my childhood norm. I found sanctity in my ever-changing world through conducting adventures of my own, which still rings true today. Vivid memories of investigating castle ruins in Germany to constructing bike jumps in the red Carolina clay continue to drive me to dream big and guide my adult life. Adventure-seeking opened the door to finding my flow and taught me to live in the moment. Which is why I strive to treat every moment, and every being, as though it holds something compelling to teach me. Learning from each of you, and each other, is sure to make this time unforgettable.
I’ll save some of the details for later, but in short, I was drawn to the ancient and lush lands of Southeast Asia by pursuing my dream of becoming a yoga instructor. My gateway to these individually unique countries was through the diverse city of Goa in Southwest India, where I earned my yoga teacher certification. Since finishing, I have made my backpack and my yoga mat my portable home. In between programs, I’ve enjoyed teaching free yoga classes in every country I have visited. In fact, I have taught classes in every country we will be studying together! Although yoga is what brought me to this part of the world, it has been the endless possibilities of exploration and connection that have stolen my heart. And, I’m so stoked to craft those moments with you!
Through my voyages during childhood to my personal travels through Southeast Asia, I can assure you that less is more; especially when it comes to packing. So, a word to the wise, pack light. Lay out all of your belongings and make sure you have everything you need and nothing you don’t. Another pro-tip is to go through the process of unpacking and repacking your bag several times. It’s so convenient when all of your belongings have a “home” within your pack. It also makes packing a breeze when it’s time to get up and go. And it’s a sure-fire way to keep you more accountable for your belongings during our fastpace living.
Currently, I find myself working on a permaculture farm and studying sustainability just Northeast of Bangkok. And, at the moment, we are dealing with a surprising cold front from the China winds that have made most of us super sick. Sleeping with six wool blankets at night is not our idea of this tropical oasis that is Southeast Asia but that is the life of a traveler; dealing with these surprises and challenges as they come. It reminds me to commend you all on choosing to undergo such wondrous, and sometimes less than glamorous, moments. Traveling abroad is not easy and not for everyone. Although we have giggle fests and sunsets to look forward to, please keep in mind that our travels won’t always be such a pretty picture. So please, bring a positive attitude and your best “tribe vibe”, as we will be enduring a few long days together.
In the meantime, please, don’t be a stranger! As we inch closer to our once-in-a-lifetime expedition, I’d say it’s only natural to have some pretty intense butterflies, and what powerful way to feel alive! However, facing any questions? Want to voice a concern? Comments? Emotional outburst? Feel free to shoot me a message anytime.
I’d like to leave you with some “food for thought”. You might have heard these wise words before but maybe this time they ring a different or wholer truth. As you mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare yourself for this trip, I encourage you to marinate in the words of Yogi Bhajan.
“Travel light, live light, be the light, spread the light.”
Caitlin and I are looking forward to our meet and greet in Bangkok!